June 27, 2010
Early novel of the First World War
The Major was the first of three novels Ralph Connor wrote about the First World War, other two being The Sky Pilot in No Man's Land (1919) and Treading the Winepress (1925).
The Major appeared while Connor (pen name of Rev. Charles W. Gordon) was on a lengthy lecture campaign to boost recruitment and support for the war in Canada and the U.S.
The novel contains a long preamble about the Gwynne family's adventures in homesteading in the Canadian West, but toward the end the book reveals its main theme by showing how the characters respond to the outbreak of war and deal with their consciences over such issues as pacifism, patriotism, and duty.